Sports

22 of the Most Bizarre Obsessions of Professional Athletes  

Jacob Shelton
295 votes 76 voters 7.3k views 22 items

List Rules Vote up the most unexpected and strange fixations of stars from any sport.

Strange athlete obsessions are really only possible because sports superstars make so much money. For instance, you can enjoy Superman on your modest budget, but you probably can’t afford a life-sized Superman statue on your boat dock. There’s something about having the time and resources to chase your true passion that makes the hobbies and personal lives of athletes so interesting. It’s no surprise there are athletes who are obsessed with weird things, but the lengths to which they’ll go to feed their desire for volcanic dust or French onion dip are unfathomable until you see it.

While most sports star obsessions are tangible (a pile of snakes, soft drink memorabilia), some athletes are chasing a feeling you can only find once you’re embroiled in a hearty game of Dungeons & Dragons or Magic: The Gathering. That’s right, there are mega athletes out there right now spending millions of dollars perfecting their decks so they can destroy you in the back of a comic book shop on some lazy Saturday afternoon. It’s easy to understand superstar athlete obsessions, because if you were suddenly gifted all the money, you'd start collecting everything you wanted, or trying to play as much disc golf as possible. That’s just how humans work.  

Vote on the most unexpected and strange fixations of stars from any sport, then leave a comment about whatever weird thing you’re into – just don’t incriminate yourself. 

Ronda Rousey is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 22 of the Most Bizarre Obsessions of Professional Athletes
Photo: The Fumble/YouTube

There's nothing wrong, weird, or kooky about playing video games. They're fun, you love them, everyone loves them. But the amount of dedication it takes to run a forum specifically for Pokemon is ridiculous, and it's shocking to learn that, before Ronda Rousey was punching people's heads in, she was sitting in front of her computer editing comments about Snorlax.

In a Reddit AMA, when asked if she would rather fight one Mew-sized Mewtwo or 100 Mewtwo-sized Mews (which is not a thing that would happen), she answered “One Mew-sized Mewtwo, ‘cuz everyone knows that even though Mewtwo has better stats than Mew, 100 Mews totally overcome that.” Sure. Why not?

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Jesper Parnevik is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 22 of the Most Bizarre Obsessions of Professional Athletes
Photo: Golfing World/YouTube

Professional golfers seem like they have a lot of down time. There's not a lot of turn over in the sport, and even during a tournament they're mostly just walking around trying not to get duped into fighting a hockey-star-turned-golfer whose making a mockery of their sport. While Jesper Parnervik may not be a household name, he has five PGA tour wins and one Master under his belt, which is nothing to sneeze at. Especially if you've got a pile of volcanic dust on your desk.

Whenever Parnervik is feeling glum, he likes to eat a handful of volcanic sand. "I just take it straight. It's from somewhere in Europe. I bring it back from Sweden." So it probably tastes great. What say you Parnevik? "It tastes just like regular dirt." Oh, okay. Enjoy your dirt, then. 

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Derrick Thomas is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 22 of the Most Bizarre Obsessions of Professional Athletes
Photo: Smithsonian Channel/YouTube

Prior to his death in 2000 from a a pulmonary embolism following paralysis in a car crash, Derrick Thomas only cared about two things: football and the JFK assassination. His father died in the Vietnam war in 1972, when the B-52 aircraft he was co-piloting was shot down during a bombing mission over North Vietnam. From then on, Thomas began a lifelong obsession with piecing together the events of that fateful day, and it led him to the JFK assassination.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Thomas said he believed Oliver Stone's JFK  was "almost true to life." He then went on to discuss how outlandish some of the most popular theories are.

"You've got the magic-bullet theory, which is one of the most outlandish things of all time. How do they expect the American public to believe that? You've got [J. Edgar] Hoover, who hated Kennedy. The bottom line is, someone changed the parade route and someone pulled the security off its detail."

It's truly unfortunate the loss of Thomas's father led him down such a dark rabbit hole of American history, and it's even worse there were no answers waiting for him. 

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Dwight Howard is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 22 of the Most Bizarre Obsessions of Professional Athletes
Photo: CONSPIRACY/YouTube

When you make Dwight Howard money, you can do whatever you want. But if you act like a Bond villain in your downtime, you might want to rethink your life choices. During an interview with Bleacher Report, Howard discussed his favorite, super dangerous, hobbies as if they were no big deal. First, he showed off his guns. Turns out he's amassed a small arsenal of shotguns, semiautomatics, and handguns (including a "gold-looking" Desert Eagle). He also has a bazooka "just for show" and 20 exotic snakes. Howard described his insane hobbies as "What you do in Texas.” He's actually not wrong about that. 

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